In a world of consumerism and constant one-upping on social media, it can be hard to ground ourselves at times.
Taking things for granted is something that most of us are guilty of, but it’s also something that’s fairly easy to rectify.
I spent 30 days practicing daily gratitude – thinking of three things each day that I was grateful for and really meditating on them.
These are the top 7 things from my list…
1. A Safe Place To Live, Eat, And Sleep
The majority of you reading this will be doing so from the comfort of your own home, perhaps sitting on the couch or propped up by some cushions in bed.
Having a place to live is just a norm for many of us, and definitely something a lot of us take for granted.
Coming home can feel quite stressful at times, as you may be dreading dealing with the huge pile of laundry or washing up you left behind!
The fact that you even have a house (or room) where the door locks, the water runs from the tap, and you can sleep comfortably is amazing.
Most of us probably take certain utilities for granted too. Electricity, water, and somewhere to store food that we can eat are pretty ‘basic’ things, but amazing nonetheless.
It’s so easy to complain about small things, but having a home where you can feel safe, warm, and make yourself a cup of tea is definitely something to be thankful for.
2. Your Commute
Sure, it’s a huge faff and traffic can be horrendous, but your commute doesn’t need to be a source of daily stress.
If you drive to work, you have the ability to turn your car into a classroom by downloading interesting podcasts and educating yourself on a random subject during each journey.
Or use your train journey to work your way through a book, or even do some writing of your own.
One of the best things about a commute in your car is spending time alone, listening to the music you like at whatever volume suits your mood. After all, how often can you play the same song on repeat for hours without anyone else complaining?
Any parents out there may know how much of a refuge your car can become – as much as you love your kids, it is pretty nice to have some quiet ‘me’ time.
Make the most of your commute and be grateful that you have time alone – and a job to go to!
Being squished into a stranger’s armpit on the metro isn’t ideal, I’ll admit, but use this time to practice meditation and compassion.
Giving yourself time to be empathetic toward total strangers does wonders for your mind and can really help put you in a positive mood.
Chat to people on your commute! It might seem scary and weird, but even a small interaction with someone new (or the regular person you always see on the way to work) will make you feel good about yourself.
You don’t need to have a heart to heart, but exchanging smiles and indulging in some small talk is a pretty great way to set yourself up for the day.
Be grateful for this time to create new experiences, and potentially challenge your comfort zones.
3. Small Indulgences
The endless coffees I buy each day while working often feel like a necessity – partially to keep me sane, but also to keep those around me safe!
In actual fact, these little coffees should feel like a treat.
I have enough money to buy myself a nice, tasty drink (and slab of cake, let’s be honest), and that should hold more value than it does.
Having a glass of wine after work, buying a new top for a night out, or getting extra guac on your taco are all relatively small things that are easily taken for granted.
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4. Your Routine
It’s so easy to take your routine for granted, and actually resent it!
Doing the same thing day in, day out may feel very boring and dull, but there are some positive aspects to having a routine.
You might not feel it in your mind, but your body will definitely be grateful for the routine you’re set in.
Our bodies and minds function much better when they are stable – getting up at the same time each day, having set meal times, and going to bed at a regular time each night all really help.
It can be so easy to forget about these kind of things; after all, it’s not often we sit back and really think about our lives. Having a schedule and letting your body settle into it works wonders!
Next time you find yourself waking up a minute before your alarm goes off, try and feel grateful – our minds and bodies are incredible, and your routine helps them function at their very best.
Practice gratitude toward the comfort of your routine, and appreciate the fact that you have certain tiny habits that are ingrained in you now.
You know which side of the sofa is yours, your stomach rumbles if you’re five minutes late for lunch, and your morning ritual helps set you up for the day.
5. Your Health
Of course, this was bound to make the list!
There will be some people reading this who may be suffering from a chronic or life-threatening illness.
For those who are not, your health is something that is probably taken for granted. We forget how amazing our bodies are, and the fact that they generally just pootle on in the background without so much as a break is a true wonder of life.
We often only really realize how good we have it when we suddenly don’t have it so good. Trying to breathe through your nose with a cold makes you remember how amazing it is to breathe freely.
Try applying that analogy to your body and mind in general. Mental health is so important and anyone who struggles will know how incredible it is to ‘re-emerge’ after a bad episode.
Be present and grateful for your health, and remember how fortunate you are to have it.
6. Friendships And Relationships
It can be really helpful and beneficial to sit down and think about all the important people in your life.
Look at your phone and the amount of times you call your Mum, how many messages you send to your partner and how many memes your best friend has tagged you in today.
We often take these people for granted, and, while that’s pretty normal, it’s worth taking time to consider how lucky you are.
Being a happy and healthy person comes down to various things, but being surrounded by supportive people who are invested in your life plays a huge role in it.
It’s so amazing to be able to name people that you love and care about, and it’s also wonderful to be able to feel and express that.
Asking “How are you?” is so natural to us, but think about the individuals whose answer you really, deeply care about.
The fact that we have people on that list is so wonderful, and definitely something we need to spend more time appreciating.
Imagine minutes as money: it’s a pretty classic way of looking at things, but for a reason.
There are 1440 minutes in each day, which may not seem like that much time, but is definitely a lot of money! As the old analogy goes, imagine having $1440 and having to spend it all in one day – you can’t save it and you can’t give it away.
It sounds pretty fun, right?
Now remember that those dollars are actually minutes, and that you also have to make the most of these in one day.
Time is finite and precious, and it can be so beneficial to take a moment to really appreciate the fact that we are alive.
It might sound a bit ‘hippy dippy’ but there are so many opportunities and experiences out there that we have access to, as well as time to spend in our comfort zones.
Whether you want to settle into a routine or drop everything and travel, you have the time to do so, and that’s pretty amazing.